THE JEFFERSON FAMILY
“WE WERE ALL SAD, BUT TALKING TO THE KIDS ABOUT IT WAS THERAPEUTIC FOR ALL OF US.” SABRINA JEFFERSON FAIR LAWN
Fair Lawn’s Sabrina Jefferson also knows the struggle of being a military wife. When her husband, Fredrick, was put on stop-loss in 2006, sending him to Iraq, she helped their seven children through his yearlong absence. “It was so hard because you have to be the mother and the father and cope with everyone’s emotions,” she says. “We were all sad, but talking to the kids about it was therapeutic for all of us.”
Sabrina found ways to help her children through that time. “We filled a jar with candy and every day we’d take a piece out,” she says, “and as the candy went away they understood how much time was left until Daddy was coming home.” Sabrina also played recordings of Fredrick’s voice and left pictures of him out for the kids to kiss hello every morning.
“Also, before he left, Fredrick bought a star, so every night we’d go outside, look up at the star and say a prayer,” she says.
After an emotional homecoming, it took Sabrina time to acclimate back to a two-parent home. “I was so used to doing everything on my own, so the homecoming was tough,” she says. “We all cried and I held him for a long time, but it was tough.”
Fredrick, who remains on local active duty for the Army, recently found out he might return to Iraq this year. “I’m taking that really hard, because I worried so much last time about losing him,” Sabrina says. “So many soldiers come home with PTSD or without a limb or don’t make it back at all. So it’ll be hard to face that again.”
A FAMILY’S LOVE Frederick Jefferson’s tour in Iraq kept him far away from his wife and seven children in Fair Lawn, but they found ways to keep him close to their hearts despite the distance. He met yet again be called to active service.